Positive job market outlook for this winter’s graduates

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Premiere Date: 
December 6, 2012

Positive job market outlook for this winter’s graduates

Leslie Kohlberg gives an overview of the job market that awaits this year's graduates.

Episode Transcript

Frederica Freyberg: One of the university's most devoted legislative watchdogs is the chair of the Assembly College and Universities Committees, Republican representative, Steven Nass. Representative Nass issued this statement today. “The compromise on admissions, particularly at UW-Madison, is a big win for the middle class families of this state that desire a fair shot for their kids to get into the flagship campus of our higher education system.” Now, with these admission's guidelines determined, we turn to the midyear graduates who will be crossing the stage for their diplomas later this month. What are their chances of rolling into a career versus crashing back into Mom and Dad's house? Leslie Kohlberg is the UW-Madison career services manager. Thanks a lot for being here. Leslie Kohlberg: It's a pleasure. Frederica Freyberg: How is the job market looking for these graduating seniors? Leslie Kohlberg: Job market is looking terrific. Everything-- the National Association of Employers, who, you know, keeps good track, just said that 2013 is a good year because it's up 13% hiring prospects for those students. Frederica Freyberg: That must make your job nicer. Leslie Kohlberg: It does except it doesn't seem to have really made an impression upon the students, and how they're feeling and behaving around the job market. Frederica Freyberg: Well, but yet how does it compare to, say, four years ago? Leslie Kohlberg: Fantastic. I mean, we had-- in 2009 hiring was down 21.9%, in 2010 the unemployment for college grads was 11.2%. So they have hiring up 13% and have unemployment down to, I think, 6.8%. For new college grads, it's great news. And they're streaming into our career fairs. We took both levels of the Kohl Center. We turned people away. Everything is pointing to a really positive market. Frederica Freyberg: Why aren't students making that connection yet? Leslie Kohlberg: I think they're very affected by the media, and especially targeted towards recent grads. So they're hearing, you know, so many of our recent grads can't get jobs, you know. This many percent of our recent grads are living at home. So they're really filtering their– you know, what they're hearing in terms of their perspective on what is available to them. And they're very anxious. They're very worried. They have large debt. We talked about this last year. That has not changed. And they feel that it's-- they understand that it's not that there’s no jobs. They still understand that it's highly competitive. And that hasn't changed. That's what's really driving their behavior. Frederica Freyberg: What are, kind of, the growth job markets that students are increasingly moving toward? Leslie Kohlberg: Business, engineering, consulting, computers, technology. Retail is a blockbuster right now. But students are not necessarily interested. Our Letters and Science students, that's not really their passion. And it's very hard for them to put together what they really want to do, in terms of, you see the numbers in AmeriCorps and Teach for America and Peace Corps. And they don't know how to reconcile that with the debt that they have, and how to follow what they're really passionate about. Frederica Freyberg: So are Letters and Sciences students then still increasingly doing those kind of AmeriCorps and Peace Corp programs? Leslie Kohlberg: Yeah, they're continuing to do that. And we are still seeing a lot of students going to graduate school, which is confusing, because usually when the market is better, you see really a decrease in graduate school and more students going straight to jobs. But I think that there is just a momentum right now to get a job, hold a job, you know, do what you can to take the next job, and it's-- they're just not stopping to really absorb some of the positive messages. Frederica Freyberg: Good. Well, I'm so glad that we have a positive message to send this year. Leslie Kohlberg: We do. Frederica Freyberg: All right. Leslie Kohlberg: And-- thank you. Frederica Freyberg: Leslie Kohlberg, thanks very much. Leslie Kohlberg: Thank you.

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